Spanish Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Spanish language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top


Lo que pasa es que el niño no fue a la escuela porque se fracturo el tobillo.

Lo que quiere es una computadora para hacer sus tareas.

Lo que dice es mentira.

Lo que no entiendo es por qué no tiene hambre si no ha comido nada desde la mañana.

The pattern is "lo que (verb) es/son [que]".

  • What's the function of "lo" in "lo que"?
  • What is "lo" referring to?
share|improve this question
up vote 8 down vote accepted

It's a pronoun, being used to refer to actions, concepts and ideas, never for nouns, which require the use of "El que...". Check this page for more examples.

Consider the sentence:

Lo que necesitamos es más tiempo.

In English it would be "What we need is more time" (Translation might seem clumsy, but it's to allow you to understand); "what" refers to "time".

share|improve this answer

"Lo que" indeed means "what", not in the interrogative sense, but in the sense of "that which..."

Consider the following examples:

Lo que importa es... / What matters is...

Lo que me molesta es que ... / What bothers me is that...

¿Oíste lo que dijo? / Did you hear what s/he said?

Haz lo que quieras. / Do whatever you want.

Pase lo que pase / Whatever happens ... happens.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.